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Author Topic: 3.02 | Is it better for the kids if I stay or leave?  (Read 23570 times)
JoannaK
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« on: August 19, 2007, 11:41:20 AM »

This topic has come up many times over the years, of course, and I just read posts by Methos and Worm and felt that it needs to be discussed again.

So I would urge those of you with kids, both who have left and who have stayed, to ponder the following issues and to post similar issues pertinent to this topic.  (Some are similar questions worded slightly differently):

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?

2.  There have been studies that show that kids who grow up in divorced homes have more problems in life than kids whose parents stay together.  Would having a BPD/NPD parent (or other abusive parent) change this outlook?

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?

6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?

4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have?

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... . and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?
« Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 12:46:35 AM by Harri, Reason: fixed typos » Logged



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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2007, 12:23:28 PM »

Great discussion topic JK

My children were a huge motivator for me to leave their dad. I was adamant that I would not teach my children that how their father treated me was how a woman should be treated.  I stood up for myself. I have not once regretted my decision. There are many difficulties with the two households and my children are aware of the animosity between mom and dad, I can't help that.

I figure it is much better in the pro category that they have the life they do with me for the majority of the time. Their dad is financially and responsibility challenged. What I provide for them with my SO would never have been possible had I stayed.

Emotionally, spiritually, physically they are so much better off now.

I like the line Dr. Phil refers to. Its often better for kids to come from broken homes than to live in them. Their lives would be much more difficult if I stayed. Limited dad contact allows for him to be on best behaviour for the most part. They are with him EOW and 4 weeks thru the year. Considering his place is a one bedroom basement apartment in the roughest neighbourhoods in our province, thats enough. (yes my children sleep on a futon couch and cot in the living room of the apt)

Making the choice to stay or leave I can appreciate is a very difficult one. I know for most men, that it must be almost unbearable to giv up seeing their children every day. I take that and try so hard to have empathy for my exh, however the more I give, the more compassionate I am, the worse he treats me and in front of the kids too. SO I try to detach as much as I can.

All of my decisions and actions stem from my desire to do what is best for the kids. They are worth it and thankfully I can say they are terrific children, well adjusted, loving, confident, sweet and healthy.

Peace4us
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2007, 06:45:35 PM »

JK,

answer to #9, yes that is my fear.  I answer as a man who is still undecided and trying to get myself together.  my wife is financially and responsibility challenged.  but when it comes to the kids, they are 'hers' and ' will never take them from her!'

I have resolved that whatever haPpens, I will cherrish the time I spend with them and make the most of it.

otp
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2007, 03:28:47 PM »

I wholeheartedly agree with the saying

Excerpt
Its often better for kids to come from broken homes than to live in them

2.  There have been studies that show that kids who grow up in divorced homes have more problems in life than kids whose parents stay together.  Would having a BPD/NPD parent (or other abusive parent) change this outlook?

Yeah, I think that watching a parent walk on eggshells/take abuse is much more damaging than the divorce... .

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

My mind has been on this exact subject lately, mostly due to the drastic improvement in my youngest daughter.  She had a really hard time dealing with stuff when DB was living in the house and in full BPD mode... .I know he does not have any clue to the damage done when it comes to her... .he thinks that just because they were close once, and because his anger/rage was directed at her sisters and me, not her, that he is still idolized by her.

She is doing so so much better now, happier, has friends over more, free to be herself, less emotional outbursts and with me and her... .lots more talking/hugging/hanging out... .absolutely the right decision in my case to divorce.


8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations? What I regret is not getting out earlier, before he made things so hard on the older two... .the marriage became more and more strained as the girls got older, asserted their independence... .only made him rage worse, react worse, behave worse... .and he still blames them.  The health problems my oldest daughter is still dealing with go back to all of it, he forced her out of the house, resulting in her quitting college... .she will likely never go back, her life is FOREVER changed because I STAYED... .she had gotten into one of the toughest schools in the northeast (a kid who had been through homelessness, living in the worst of circumstances, accepted at a top school, darn).  Her dreams, put off because of this.

So, my advice to parents on the fence... .before irepairable damage is done, think... .think about what kind of life you want for your kids... .

My relationship with each of my girls has improved since the split, their attitudes and level of respect for me has improved... .they have watched as I escaped a relationship that was causing me such pain, they are watching now as I heal and rediscover myself... .they watch as I become stronger... .they are as proud of me as I am of them.
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2007, 06:09:54 PM »

I grew up in a happy home. My parents loved me, my siblings, and each other. They still do. What I wanted for my children was the same environment that I grew up in. I made a mistake in who I married.

I came to the conclusion that I did not have a choice. I had to divorce my wife. NO other option. As I saw it... .if I stayed in the marriage my kids would grow up warped and abused. I was seeing it happen at very young ages and I felt that the abuse/neglect would only get worse through the years. I saw my kids growing up hating me and having idenity problems because of their mother. I saw them growing up in therapy, on psych meds. Not to mention I did not think they would be able to grow up and know me as the happy/optimist I view myself as... .I was becomming bitter and was walking down a road where affairs would have been in my future... .not an environment that would be conducive to teaching my kids what a man/father is about... .not to mention what a woman/mother should be like... .I knew  they'd never see that from their mother.

I figured if I asked for a divorce and she got the kids the kids would end up in therapy on meds and in general screwed up... .But I also never really saw my wife taking the kind of responsability to raise the kids and if she got them initially I figured in time I would get them back.

For me the decision was absolute... .Having children grow up wittnessing abuse or being abused should never be considered a legitamate option... .IMHO when it is rationalized it's a cop out, period.  The Foremost responsability of parents is protection of their kids, mentally and physically.

Studies unless done scientifically are flawed and can be biased easily by the opinions of those doing the study. Likely studies that show kids happier in married homes are not taking into account PDs, alcoholism, drug abuse, battered women, etc... .From the shear volume of divorces in the USA the studies would suggest broken homes are not as happy because most divorces are not involving PDs... .Ask a kid how it makes them feel when dad comes home drunk and beats mom... .There are reasons for divorce... .good ones... .absolute reasons... .There are also reasons for reconciliation... two good parents that have drifted apart, have kids, still feel for one another but quit communicating somewhere along the way... .those people should do all they can to "work it out"... .but that is not the typical situation on these boards... .For those of you questioning staying... .Go read the accounts of the kids who grew up in homes with BPD parents.

I fought for my kids and I have custody. I'd do it again. My kids are very young 1yo, 2yo, and 4yo. My 4yo has some issues he is in therapy for... .But since X has been out of the house I can tell a major difference in him. He is much happier. He is playing better with his siblings. He is less angry. My home feels like a totally different place. I enjoy going home. There is no tension. There is no chaos. I'll have to keep you all posted on how they grow up... .But I can promise this... .They now have a better chance at growing up normal and happy.
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2007, 06:13:16 PM »

if I knew ten years ago what was to come Id have left for the kids .If the kids are targets staying for there benefit is ludicrous ,denial and a selfish excuse
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2007, 06:34:26 PM »

Great questions that I ponder every day.

I stayed as long as I could because I knew that once I left, I would have no idea what was really going on in the paternal household.  Our kids had just turned 6 and 3 when I moved out.  I am doing SO much better myself to be out of there, and yes, I do worry about how it is for them during the time they are there.

It's been about 20 months, and we have been doing 50/50 most of the time.  He doesn't work (permanent disability) and I work full time.  This has been the worst part.  He does the child care during the summer and school holidays, and it sucks for the kids.  He is often sick in bed all morning, has anger management issues, is socially isolated, depressed, etc.  There have also been three times now when he has taken off two to four weeks with varying amounts of notice - basically fallen off the planet in terms of parenting.  And I have to scramble and take time off work and figure out how to manage.

I don't think the 50/50 arrangement is the best for the kids, and he refuses to consider any other.  We are doing a "collaborative process" divorce (can a BPD ever truly collaborate?), and finally making some progress toward getting a sort of psych and custody evaluation to get outside input on his mental health and what is best for the kids.

Some days I wonder if I should have stayed.  But whenever I mention that to any of my friends or family, they help me put it into perspective.  I am so much healthier and doing well in my life as a result of being out of there, and the kids benefit greatly from that.  Yes, I worry about what really goes on over there (it's like having 3 kids living by themselves and I can never trust what any of them tells me).  This will change as the kids get older.  And already I am seeing how they don't completely respect their dad and question his judgment and mental health in their own young ways.

I have read that children of divorce do fine as long as one parent is stable.  That is what keeps me thinking I made the right choice.  If I had stayed, they would not have experienced a happy and harmonious household.  And now I am in a healthy relationship with a man who is a great father, so they are even seeing how adults can have positive communication and men can be good parents.

I have also talked to adults who say they wished their parents had divorced, that living in a broken home was awful.  

As soon as we became parents together, I realized that it would not be the partnership I was hoping for and that he had promised.  So I am used to being the responsible parent.  My moving out has allowed me to do a better job.  In other words, I was and always will take on the majority of the parenting repsonsibility, and now I know that I can do it from a healthy and strong state of mind, which will greatly benefit the kids in the long run.
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2007, 09:23:02 PM »

I think my son would have benefitted from my being honest with him. Not candid or becoming critical of his father, but honest about my h and I being happier and not having as many problems if we lived at different places. Sharing things he was doing, but not responsible for each other any more. Trying to fake it or saying nothing at all when there were signs of stress seems to have made him a very careful and guarded person. There isn't anyone more pragmatic than he, and I've said before that I wish he'd loosen up, but fatherhood hasn't done it and he has more things to keep track of now.

It is hard to explain, but here are two examples that may sound silly, but he worries me:

Ex. 1) His wife, 5 mo. old, and MIL in town from AZ go shopping for the day. When they get home, per my DIL, he asks if they fed the baby. (No, they were laughing and buying stuff and didn't notice her--what kind of question is that?) I feel personally responsible that he keeps track of everything under the sun and thinks if he doesn't, no one else will.

Ex. 2) I'm going to give the baby a bottle and he tells me not to stop and burp her as she is not eating well and sometimes won't drink the last half of bottle. So I start the bottle and then have to take it out of her mouth! He is standing there watching me (to see if I do it right, probably), and so he asks why did you take it out, Mom, and I said because milk was pouring out of her mouth. He actually told me not to take it out unless she was gagging. I wanted to say that he must be joking, but didn't and she took ALL of the bottle, without problem.

But most of all, I should not have put myself through this, and the kind of decent man he is, he wouldn't have wanted me to do so. Things that shouldn't be happening should be stopped. I thought I'd made an absolute decision to remain a "close" family and I immediately began compromising my values, self-esteem and strengths, and I think not realizing a family cannot be made under those kinds of circumstances because lies breed a feeling of uneasiness. You have it or you don't.

All that time and it was just a long struggle and nothing more. Just looking like an intact family isn't very rewarding in the end. The fallout is real however. I felt dishonest and part of the problem, but I could have made him a deal that I'd get a divorce and keep all his secrets. If he gave me a bad time over it, I'd tell everything I'd seen and ask that the divorce be sealed.

My son is a good husband and proud father, has a responsible job, several degrees, and feels close to me and my h. I don't know what he would have experienced with his Dad alone, although his Dad was always kind and generous to him, but he would have had a different mother than the one he had, and that's what was needed. At any point I could have changed my mind, so I don't believe the decision to stay is absolute. I've found life to be full of change anyway and staying won't prevent other very unpleasant experiences if the decision is like mine was--to stay. No one should be that unhappy and I taught my son life was about being very, very careful.

AB
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2007, 09:32:33 PM »

Great topic.

I stayed and stayed with my ex husband, thought I was doing the right thing for my children.  But when I finally left him (my kids were 19, 17 and 13) I realized I had been wrong. 

My children watched me endure cruelty and meanness and craziness --- they watched me cry so often -- and my daughters watched me take crap for all those years.  It wasn't until I left that I realized that it was actually better for the children to see me be strong and get out and stop taking the crap. 

I was so scared they would be ruined by my leaving -- yeah, well, all 3 of them have significant others now 5 years later (one's engaged), they have good jobs or are still in school -- they're okay, they really are, in fact I'm amazed by how okay they are!

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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2007, 05:57:48 AM »

I come from both sides of the story. My father has NPD and I married a BNPD.

I remember very well the day my heart broke and I don't believe it ever mended properly. I was a teenager and my mother was going to leave my father. Even though I was 19 I still felt a huge sense of relief. Finally, I thought, I will have a quiet peaceful home to come to during breaks from college. My mother was going to once and for all choose her children over the raging alcoholic sadistic lunatic who made day to day living hell. Or so I thought. I helped her find an apartment and I begged and begged her to make sure he never came back. 2 days later she forgave him. It wasn't only that he had been so cruel growing up it was that in one event he had finally exposed himself to her. She found out he had been cheating and I had found the other woman in my childhood home wearing my mother's clothes.

So in my mind for the final time she had chosen him over the health of her children. A little piece of me died that day. I learned what it means to be trapped, all alone and I learned that as a human being I wasn't worth much. As much as I hated my father... .I hated her more. Yes. I hated them. I hated their selfishness and their weakness. I hated that they forced four children to endure their sick codependent relationship. I remember looking out of the back door and looking at the sparkling water of the swimming pool and thinking that my own mother sold me down the river for a stupid swimming pool.

After that I was running all of the time. Escaping from who knows what and everything. I was never the same. Something broke and I couldn't fix it. My grandmother ,who gave me the only unconditional love I ever experienced, died so I had no refuge or sanctuary from the difficulties of life. All of my life I had watched my father abuse my mother and siblings verbally and mentally. I remember her teaching us to be good or your father will get mad or her sitting silently as she allowed us to be the targets of his rage. I felt betrayed by her inability to stand up for us and her silence was louder than his yelling.

My views on marriage and men were not very positive so I avoided them at all cost usually breaking up with a guy because I couldn't stand to get too close. I did not want anything to do with anyone like my father so when I saw something even faintly reminiscent of him I bolted. I would not let anyone close and I avoided commitment.

I was like this for a long time. When I met my stbxBPDh he seemed like a breath of fresh air.

He behaved exactly opposite of my father and I felt that at last I would have the love I so wanted and I could create for my own children what I never had. For once I was going to let down my guard and surrender to love.

Not only had I married my father, I had married someone worse who was also a chronic underachiever. I married him and got a BPDMIL in the package. NPFIL was part of the deal too.

I left my marriage because I absolutely never wanted my daughter to feel about me as I did/do about my mother. I was forced to be a mini adult on guard for trouble. There was no childhood. I watched my mother's face crumble when she was attacked and would sit and dry her tears while swallowing my own. I was helpless to save her or more importantly helpless to save myself.

But not this time. My stbx has no idea that I am fighting a battle for my daughter's life and a battle for my own. I will never be like my mother. I never want to be the cause of my daughter's heartbreak. I saw the beginnings of her changing from the happy sweet child she is into a sullen nervous angry little girl.

I will never be who I could have been had I grown up in a safe home. I could have stomached some weekends with my father if it meant 5 days a week of freedom. 5 days to breathe and be myself. I can only imagine what I could have achieved had I had confidence in my self worth.

No child deserves to be the victim of their parent's decisions. It is my duty to my child to ensure that she has chance to reach her full potential. I want her childhood to be fun and safe. I don't want her tip toing around wondering when the next bomb is going to explode.

I want to model for her what strength looks like.

I want her to see a woman who took her life back and did something meaningful with it.

So I left and I am so much better for it. I can go to sleep every night knowing that I did what was right. My life is my own. Our home is our sanctuary. She is smiling big cheesey grins again, making wry jokes(did I tell you how bright she is?) and we fall asleep on the sofa watching High School Musical for the thousandth time. None of this would have happened if I chosen to stay.

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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2007, 07:27:16 AM »

My ex husband was Antisocial but there are some similarities among the PDs and a lot of the behaviors are similar. In additon, he had issues with alcohol and drugs. He was impulsive and we never had any money. My marriage bankrupted me and at the ripe old age of 27, I had two small children and a fresh bankrupcy.  I toyed with the idea of leaving and I thought long and hard about what it would do the kids for us to separate. Not to mention, I'm Catholic and traditionally, the church frowns on divorce but the more progressive churches also recognize that a marriage to someone so mentally ill that they are spiritually and emotionally unable to live the bonds of Christian marriage is by definition, not a marriage at all. Most of all, I questioned my ability to raise the kids on my own because I knew he was not be a big part of their lives going forward. One St. Patrick's Day, my ex h did what most drunks do on that day and that was the last straw for me. It occurred to me that I shouldn't even be wondering if I can do it on my own. I had been doing it all along. And like Peace, I didn't want my daughter thinking this is how a husband should treat his wife and I didn't want my son thinking this is how he should treat his either. I left my marriage and have not had one regret along the way for doing so. Ten years later, I met UdBPDx and we have a child. Though my experience with my ex husband didn't result in me having any better taste in men, I was able to recognize that this person was no one I wanted to committ my life to. I made the decision to raise our D regardless of what he decided to do.

It's been about 12 years since I left my ex H. My children have had some rough spots but, they aren't felons, they do well in school, and they are fairly well adjusted... .as much as teenagers can be I guess. I can't even surmise what it would be like if I had stayed. I didn't stay for the kids. I left for the kids. My guess is that the studies about what happens to kids after divorce has less to do with the separation and more to do with the acrimony afterwards when the parents continue to fight.

I know when you're a man with a BPD wife there are different considerations. Maybe you fear the games and the manipulations and the use of the children as pawns against you, or you feel you need to police her, or you have a distrust for the legal system. I can empathize with you on that. Even with sole custody, I've had to deal with the games too and I always will to some degree as long as my D is a minor. My attorney pointed out we are a few years away from recognizing legally, PD'd parents. THere are always some clouds to the silver lining. The outcome depends largely on how you decided to handle them.

K.
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2007, 07:58:09 AM »

I stayed and stayed with my ex husband, thought I was doing the right thing for my children.  But when I finally left him (my kids were 19, 17 and 13) I realized I had been wrong. 

My children watched me endure cruelty and meanness and craziness --- they watched me cry so often -- and my daughters watched me take crap for all those years.  It wasn't until I left that I realized that it was actually better for the children to see me be strong and get out and stop taking the crap. 

I thought the kids would be better off if I stayed.  I was the product of a broken home and was raised by a BNPD single father (My sister and I were adopted.  The woman my father was married to ran away with another man when we were 2 and 3 and signed away her parental rights).  I remember the loneliness and sadness I felt as I grew up.  My father was absorbed in his teaching (professor) and research (always wanted his articles published, was determined to be a famous researcher/writer).  

I felt my children's lives would be different because at least they had a mother.  At least I was protecting them from their father's wrath, for the most part, by fielding it.  At least they were observing that their father and I had differences but we worked them out.  What a selfish way of thinking.  My children were learning that my marriage was the norm.  My children were learning that it's ok for a wife to be treated the way I was being treated.  My son was learning an unhealthy way to treat a female.  My daughters were learning that it was ok to allow another guy to treat them like crap.  

My D16, who was 14 at the time, had a boyfriend who slapped her across the face in the classroom because she was wearing another boy's jacket.  A week later, she was sneaking and calling him again.  She had forgiven him and wanted to help him.  She thought she could fix him.  I knew then that I was providing an unhappy atmosphere for the kids.  That's when I changed my thinking.

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?

My answer to this is a resounding YES.  I was absolutely positive that I wanted to leave.  I'm never one to make hasty decisions.

2.  There have been studies that show that kids who grow up in divorced homes have more problems in life than kids whose parents stay together.  Would having a BPD/NPD parent (or other abusive parent) change this outlook?

Absolutely.  I don't feel these studies are accurate due to the fact that there varying circumstances surrounding every divorce.

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... . and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

It hasn't been easy on the kids, but I don't regret my decision for a minute.  I have become and am continuing to become a better parent.  I'm focused on them and not my unhappy marriage.  They deserve and need my attention.

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

The friction has hurt them, but it's inevitable with a person like Stink Weed.  My consistency, stability, and strength will hopefully outweigh this eventually.  The "two homes" thing sucks, but it is what it is.  I hate that the children are victims of parallel parenting, but I can only continue to be consistent with them and hope that it will have a positive impact on them in the end.

Again, I don't regret my decision for one millisecond.  I look back now and shudder.  I'm angry at myself for not leaving sooner.  There has been some damage done to my 2 oldest.  The 2 youngest are victims of his attempts at enmeshment and parental alienation.  I knew it wouldn't be easy to leave Stinky and I would have my obstacles, but the kids and I can get through this.  My son is showing the signs of the lack of a consistent male figure in his life.  As maturity comes, he will make his own way through it.  My oldest D has some depression and anxiety issues, but she has a good therapist and a mother who is determined to make sure she has a better life.

2.  There have been studies that show that kids who grow up in divorced homes have more problems in life than kids whose parents stay together.  Would having a BPD/NPD parent (or other abusive parent) change this outlook?

I would love to see the results of a more in depth study before I can accept these results.  I can understand how kids from divorced homes have more problems in life, that's obvious, but I can't believe that those whose parents stay together have it better.  Not without knowing all the circumstances.  Look at New Life, her parents stayed and she wasn't a happy kid!



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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2007, 08:03:31 AM »

Excerpt
I know when you're a man with a BPD wife there are different considerations. Maybe you fear the games and the manipulations and the use of the children as pawns against you, or you feel you need to police her, or you have a distrust for the legal system.

This is the only thing that is keeping me trapped in here.  My situation is different from most.  The kids don't really see her behavior towards me, but over the years I've discovered that they realize that she is "different".  They are both boys, 9 and 11 now, and I know that the older one would prefer to barely ever see her again.  The younger one is totally enmeshed.

I'm getting my ducks in a row.  Was going to file last week, but the attorney said I needed to document my time spent with the kids and to get a case set up before filing.  I should have taken everybody's advice in this regard and started this long ago, but any journaling I did was more in relation to her BPD - I needed to focus on my time with the kids and her behavior towards them.

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?  No - I considered staying "for the kids" until they were old enough to choose me, but now I realize that I need to take care of me, and THAT is the best thing for the kids, particularly when I get to see them after the D.

2.  There have been studies that show that kids who grow up in divorced homes have more problems in life than kids whose parents stay together.  Would having a BPD/NPD parent (or other abusive parent) change this outlook?  Hell yeah, but I don't think the courts fully get it yet.

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?  It seemed like it was right for a while, but now I don't think so.

4.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?  More than I originally realized.  The older one is painted black continually, and he's really showing signs of it.  I'm feeling a bit guilty about it.

5.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have?  Me!

6.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?  We'll find out soon.

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?  The friction between us is mostly not seen by the kids.  Mostly because I just absorb it.  But she's been a horrible role model - they continually call her lazy and a butt (though that word isn't often used directly)

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?  This doesn't apply to me, but being a male, if the kids were younger, it'd be that much tougher for me to save them given the legal system.  She's a Stay At Home Mom (I hate applying that term to her - more like SAH bum)

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?  She is so high functioning, that I'm afraid that it'll probably mean that I will, unless I get a good judge.  I'm starting out by getting the best lawyer.  Money isn't an object - I'd spend myself broke to rescue them.  I even told the lawyer this - I don't care if I make him rich, just get me out of here with the kids.

I'll have to add - the successes of Mr. M and doc101 have given me the spine to give it a try.  Yes, there are other male success stories, but both of these guys came into this forum after I did, and they're both "done"... .and here I sit.
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2007, 09:06:04 AM »

I have a girlfriend that has been married for 25 years to someone diagnosed with BPD.  Her grown children have told her they wish she would have left because they hated watching her being mentally abused.  She does regret not leaving, but still hasn't gotten up the courage to leave. 

I grew up with a mentally ill step father, who was abusive to all of us.  I wished my step mom would have left, but she didn't.  He ended up in prison when I was 16.  I did turn out OK (other than being horrible at picking men) but my sister is very mentally ill (BPD, go figure) and has continued her father's pattern of abuse. (she and I have the same mom different father)

One of my biggest reasons for wanting to leave is for the children.  They have already made it clear that they don't like it when daddy "yells."   This is not what I want them to believe is a normal healthy relationship, because it's not.
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2007, 11:34:44 AM »

There was a time when I believed that it was imperative to stay together for the kids.  But her behavior had become so pervasive and so destructive that I developed a real fear for both my and my kids emotional/psychological welfare.  Before separation, I’d never heard of BPD.  It was only after all of us worked with a therapist for nine months that she finally told me she thought my ex had “characteristics of BPD”, recommended SWOE, and my worldview changed dramatically and forever.

I absolutely believe that my kids are much healthier now than if we had stayed together.  When we were together I didn’t realize how much she had isolated me and the kids from each other.  We were afraid to talk about the problems.  Only after separation did the lines of communication open between me and the kids to the point where I learned that they had desperately wanted her out of the house, that they were depressed and frightened of her, that they were suffering from self-doubt and self-esteem issues, and that they were walking on eggshells not only to protect themselves but to protect me from her.  And these feelings were very, very strong.  Since we’ve been separated and divorced, I’ve approached my ex twice (never again) about trying to engage in a counseling process to attempt to address the real problems.  Twice I’ve been impressed by two things.  First, that she remains who she is.  She will use any advantage, any power, any crack in the door, to start wreaking havoc and destructiveness.  Second, that my kids cringe at the very thought of her being back in our lives in any significant way.

Luckily I did not have to leave my kids.  I was a stay-at-home dad for 9 years before we separated, and had a very good relationship with my kids.  When we separated, she moved out of the family home, and we worked out a “custody” plan with a therapist (no court order) that included a heavy focus on the kids welfare and wishes.  They always spent the vast majority of their time with me, and for the last 18 months have lived exclusively with me.  We (the therapist and I) worked with the kids to help them develop their own boundaries with their mom, and they made it clear to her from the start that if she tried to force them to do anything they didn’t want to do (court ordered custody) that it would be the end of their relationships, so she never forced anything.  In addition, I believe her attorney was very open with her about the her slim chances of ever getting a change on custody.  They were 13 and 17 when we separated.

Now, my kids and I live with me in our home and we talk about everything.  We discuss problems, we work them out, we live and let live, we take care of each other.  Sure we occasionally yell at each other, but we apologize, we talk, and we make it better.  None of us would ever step back into that Gestapo-like environment where you were afraid to even make eye contact for fear of being accused of being in concert against her.  Her control over our lives was preventing us from knowing who our kids really are as people.  Gone are the days where we are afraid to talk with each other.  We are free to expand and grow and be ourselves.

I do believe that since the divorce the kids have had to witness and be participants in conflict and stress that under normal circumstances they would not have been exposed to.  But most of that has been to establish and maintain boundaries with their mother, skills they’ll need for the rest of their lives.  We do have financial issues, but there is no harm in learning to economize.

I believe that if they are negatively affected, it is much more because of their exposure to BPD than the divorce itself.  They did not grow up with a loving person as a role model for a mother.  They did not grow up with our marriage being a good model for a healthy relationship.  But when we were together, they did see me fight back.  They saw me take steps to end the marriage.  They saw me openly seek professional counseling to solve problems.  And since then, I believe they have been healthy, safe, and thriving in the family we have left, and hopefully that will be a model for their future relationships.

In the end, when they finally understood that I gave up on attempting any form of reconciliation, they were greatly relieved.  For reasons that I don’t completely understand, they were much more accepting of the permanent nature of their relationship with their mother than I was.  But they were right, and I see that now.

My only regret is for family relationships that could only have ever existed in my fantasies.  But what we have now is real and enduring.

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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2007, 12:46:45 PM »

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

I'm one of these guys.  I stayed a long time for fear that i would lose my kids.  The logic makes perfect sense for so long, but then one day it no longer made sense.   I wasn't really able to protect them when I was in the house.   I was fooling myself. 

At least now I can protect them 1/2 the time and give them a peaceful, happy, loving place to be.  If my x continues to self destruct, I will be able to give them a peaceful, happy, loving home much more than 1/2 the time. 
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« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2007, 12:54:13 PM »

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?... .For me, YES

2.  There have been studies that show that kids who grow up in divorced homes have more problems in life than kids whose parents stay together.  Would having a BPD/NPD parent (or other abusive parent) change this outlook?... .If the study was comprised only of familys with one BPD parent I believe the the children from the divorced parents would be more stable

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?... .I stayed for 10 years and it was absolutely the wrong decision

6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?... .After 10 years the kids had accumulated a lot of fleas, after the first 8 mos. out the difference in them was remarkable, happy, voiced their own opinion's, respecting other peoples property, meeting new people, etc.  

4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have? Hind sight is 20/20 I should have left 10 years before I did

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... . and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?... .I shudder to think how they would have turned out if I had stayed

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?... .Since my stbx is so low functioning there is very little contact from her to me or the kids. She doesn't even have a place of her own.

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?... .My boys are only 10 & 11, but if your home life was like mine do whatever it takes to get the kids the hell out of there!  

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?... .I thought that for a long time, the reason I stayed for so long. I'm a 14%er and darn proud of it. It can be done

   W
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2007, 08:59:28 PM »

Regarding this question:

2.  There have been studies that show that kids who grow up in divorced homes have more problems in life than kids whose parents stay together.

This was an interesting study with some very significant results.  But I believe there is a problem inherent in that kind of study... .there is no study of the effect of unhappy but intact marriages... .there is no study of the effect of abusive but intact marriages... .and there is no study of the effect of domestic violence in marriages that remain intact.

They can't take 2 marriages, and compare them side by side, one being happy and intact, one being abusive and intact.  They can't do this because no one married to an abusive spouse is going to admit it and allow their marriage to be studied.

Anyway, my answer is also YES that if one spouse is BPD or abusive and violent, then it skews the studies back the other way -- it is better for the children to have that abused spouse to be safe.

marymac

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« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2007, 03:14:04 AM »

Premise:

* Things were going downhill for years and got really bad

* I initiated my intention for divorce, though it was a common subject for about a year already

* I moved out, but nothing filed

* After a week, I got epiphany #1... .I realized I didn't trust my then-wife and I moved back in (then-wife had pledged not to "play dirty" on a number of things, such as custody... .she later broke each of those pledges... .it was a very good thing that I moved back in)

* I was considering the "standard" every-other-weekend thing... .I didn't know what divorce was like... .no idea

* I got epiphany #2 which stated that I was never a part-time dad before, and I wasn't about to start now

* Divorce filed soon after, I went for 50/50 everything... .money, children, etc.

* It was almost a year, but it finally went through... .with about 95% of my original proposal

* That year of being in the same house... .I don't wish it on anybody.


1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?

It took me a few years, but I made it absolute.  Even near the beginning of the "absoluteness" I questioned myself and prayed asking if such a choice was the right track.  Call it an answer, call it karma, but very soon after I received very strong, harsh, negative behaviors from my then-wife and my resolve was strengthened.  I'm not trying to go into a religious discussion, but the part I'm expounding on is that I had many occasions where I confirmed my decision.  I'm divorced now, and even this evening while attending a school function, the Ex confirmed my decision once again.


2.  There have been studies that show that kids who grow up in divorced homes have more problems in life than kids whose parents stay together.  Would having a BPD/NPD parent (or other abusive parent) change this outlook?

I've read many studies on many topics.  But when it got so personal as my marriage and the harsh things happening there, I really could have cared less about the studies.  My Ex was on a 3-7 day cycle of ups/downs for much of the time, and I was narrowly focused on surviving to the next cycle.

Most of the studies I had heard talked about children of divorced homes vs children who's parents stayed together.  This always bugged me a little bit, my childhood was pretty good... .we grew up, didn't really have those oddities that we hear so much about, it really was good.  I think studies between divorced vs awful-together homes is more appropriate.


3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?

I absolutely stayed for the children for about a year.  I was intentionally a buffer for them for longer than that.  I now see that such an arrangement would have been an extremely poor long-term solution.  As far as the "right decision"... .y'know... .I think it was... but not for the children's sake, but it was a big learning step for me personally.

It was difficult though.  One occasion just came back to me.  One buffer moment when my then-wife was really verbally going after one daughter something fierce... and quite unfairly too.  I did the buffer and as was typical, my then-wife came after me... but this meant that she typically stopped harping on our daughter.  I retreated to a back room and was sobbing a little when my older daughter came in and told me what a good job I did "getting mom off" her sister.  I cried some more wondering who would get her off me.  I'm mortal and don't have an "S" on my chest... .buffering was not a life decision for me.


6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?

Being a buffer or staying specifically for the children... .that time was one of the worst times for them and myself.  I feel that we grew quite a bit closer during that time, but the house was a very negative place.  I'm not sure of the exact effect on the children.  They recognize what a bad time it was.  They also can see big contrasting differences between my Ex and myself and they told me so on many occasions. 


4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have?

I wish I could have learned that lesson sooner, but looking back, I guess I needed to learn that lesson the hard way.  I've been able to learn other lessons from others, but this one?  I took the tough road on it.  And once I came to the point where I did move forward on the divorce, I know I would have regretted it if I kept staying for the kids.


5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

The children are fast-adapting.  They're great at that.  They're rapidly noticing differences in the parenting on their own.  At the very least, I'm going to give them a good example of how to live life.  I don't regret it.


7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

I don't think the friction was good at all.  I pleaded many times for her not to go to war in front of the children.  It didn't stop her.  Didn't even seem to slow her down at all.


8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?

The oldest is barely a teen.  I don't regret the decision a bit


9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

Absolutely not!  Though for a short while I did... .I didn't know any better, I had no idea, I had never been in the divorced world... .no clue.  There's studies and all sorts of information that say that children need both parents.  But since I was so close to the situation, the studies just didn't ring much inside me... .but I came around anyway, went for 50/50 and got it.


Today, my children spend at least half of their time at a fun and peaceful home.  Blaming and many other behaviors are things that we don't do here.  Though they seem to try for the first 1/2 day they're back, but children are fantastic survivors.
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« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2007, 03:14:58 AM »

I wasn't really able to protect them when I was in the house.   I was fooling myself. 

Yes!  I totally hit that point too!  At one point I realized I wasn't protecting them anyway.
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« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2007, 06:29:13 AM »



Excerpt
I wasn't really able to protect them when I was in the house

Excerpt
At one point I realized I wasn't protecting them anyway

I think this is a major point.  I too became overwhelmingly aware that the kids were being harmed and I felt I was left with no choice - no other options were available - but to divorce in order to give them a haven away from her influence.

It was literally "fight or flight", and we couldn't fight anymore.  We were losing.
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« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2007, 07:31:19 AM »

This is a great thread that I hope keeps going.

I think all of us were stuck thinking that staying for the kids was the right thing at one time. But being a child of one who thought this I want to import how just the act of leaving and fighting for your own autonomy is one of the best lessons we can teach our children.

We teach them to be courageous in the face of adversity. Maybe we don't see the results until years later but the seed is planted. It is never too late to change your life.

You know almost 40 years ago my father fought for custody of my older siblings and won. I think it can be done. It may be a harder road than it is for women but somewhere I read that the fathers that don't quit too soon can win in the end. I hope this is the case.

After I first left my daughter said to me-I hope Daddy apologizes to you so we can be a family again. He better call you.

I told her that sometimes apologies aren't enough and sometimes it is too late.

I don't want her to think an apology heals everything. It doesn't. I hate that she has to learn these things at such a tender age but these lessons are so much better then learning twisted thinking from her father.

I am finding it so much easier to be an effective parent.

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« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2007, 07:41:30 AM »

Excerpt
Regarding this question:

2.  There have been studies that show that kids who grow up in divorced homes have more problems in life than kids whose parents stay together.

I think this study too is warped. There are issues for sure dealing with divorce, but for cases where mentall illness abounds and abuse is rampant, those effects on the chidlren are far more severe than the breaking up of the family.

Had I stayed I can not imagine the sacrifices I would have had to make to survive and that to me is a horrendous role model for my children to witness. They now have a strong, successful, loving mother who is studying and becoming well versed in how to deal with BPD dad.

Life is far from perfect, but a hell of a lot better than it would have been and thats the point.

Peace4us
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« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2007, 08:17:17 PM »

I have mulled this discussion over in my mind for about a week now and decided to provide my experience of staying the course till the kids were gone. My ordeal started in 1984 when my youngest son started first grade. Little bit of the empty nest syndrome and wife started work part time and back to college. Within three to four years I was fully living in OZ and confused and hurting. My wife had issues and I had seen many little red flags over the years but when she started going outside the home the crazy days started and she became less of a parent and started enjoying a lifestyle of having many affairs and pulling all the BPD tricks out of the bag on me. Attempts were made at marriage counseling and individual therapy that were of no benefit to her and I believe mislead me to some wrong conclusions at the time. I lived in a county that was only medium sized in out state but it had the highest divorce rate in the state at the time with only two family court judges seated. At the time men never received full custody of the children and joint custody was just evolving there. Off and on for 10 years I had made a trip to an attorney’s office and kept finding out the hard truth about a contested divorce settlement would totally strip me and I would have very little oversight with my children. Discussion and threats ensued many times about divorce with my wife and her position was she would take the kids and I would pay for everything and access to the children would be the very minimal afforded under the settlement. At the time some fathers could only see their children for 2 hours on the weekend and maybe have them for one week in the summer. So for the next 14 years I continued on and was there for my children everyday and every night. I felt like a single parent living in a so called normal home. This was very trying but I believe it was the best thing for I was able to prevent direct projection upon my kids from her bad behaviors even though they saw a lot of her odd behavior just due from not being around for them and not the normal husband / wife relationship when she was. I refused to have argument in front of them, never talked bad about her to them but I would never make up excuses for her when they were disappointed in her. The time I spent with my children was a good investment, not only was I there but I was active and participated with them as much as I could. Now way was I going to leave them with a detached mother who spent more time away from home then being at home for them. Much of her time was taken up with married men and I doubt if that would of changed much if I wasn’t around.

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute? - Not making a selfish decision the answer is NO, I put my children before myself for I could not endure the thoughts of them being under their mother as a role model and provider. I paid dearly and endured additional years of craziness and this was all done before I knew anything about BPD and kept trying to understand it as a normal relationship issue.

2.  There have been studies that show that kids who grow up in divorced homes have more problems in life than kids whose parents stay together.  Would having a BPD/NPD parent (or other abusive parent) change this outlook? – At the time this was happening I was surrounded with lots of other people dealing with divorce, being single parents, fights over visitation and also was observing effects it had on children. I believe if we could have had a mutual separation and had at least joint custody things may of worked but looking back that would not of solved her issues and me not being in the primary home would of improved the environment the children lived in.

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision? - As stated I believe my children are better people today then if I had left, not only was I there for them I was better off financially to provide for them and today they have all finished college and two with advanced degrees. They appear to be very stable and responsible adults with successful careers of their own today. Yes, I stayed and believe I made the correct decision for the situation I was in. I have never played the martyr roll and never will. They are my only children and I only had one life and chance to be their father.

6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected? - There were effects from our relationship, it shows and to my disappointment they as adult children have been very mum about it for going on seven years. I have been NC for these seven years but know all three keep in touch with both of us and I enjoy my time limited time with them since all have moved hundreds of miles from their home state. Some are closer then other to her and I but nothing is said by me about her and I never ask. I do get a lot of hints their relationship is strained a bit with their mother but I don’t get into it. My biggest fear at the time of the divorce that they would take sides with one or the other and provide a lot of alienation but this didn’t happen.

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations? - I could cry the blues and feel angry that I wasted 15 years of my life in a disastrous marriage but I don’t. I could of left earlier and gotten a divorce, maybe gotten remarried and had a secondary or second family but I would of still been the father to my first three children. I can not even fathom to think what and where my kids would be today if I had left except I know they would have had to of done a lot of things for themselves a lot sooner in life then they should of. Everybody would have to make the decision that fits the situation they are in, if the primary caregiver is not capable or available to care for the children who will?

9. If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids? - Again, what’s the situation? If your leaving places the children in the care of a BPDex then what are leaving them leaving them with? I’m glad I did stay but I can also say I wish I had never gone through the life I lived but I am my children’s only father and their mother is their only mother.

This whole discussion can be very convoluted and broad in situations and impact upon children and the fleeing partner’s needs and desires. It’s so unfortunate that the number of factors that play upon making the correction is filled with so many Catch 22s and conflicts between our own desires and responsibilities coupled with social expectations and the legal system we have to live within.

This happened to me a long time ago, before Stop Walking on Eggshells was published and before I knew anything about BPD. Knowing what I know today and with more enlightened family court decisions being made I know if I was in the same situation today I would fight harder to keep custody or at least a 50/50 arrangement and leave the marriage much earlier than I did.

LA

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« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2007, 05:10:24 PM »

The amount of tension in the home and the mental state of the healthy parent are important considerations. I also believe being given an opportunity to see another way of life is beneficial to children, and there isn't anything better than seeing a parent who is happy.

My husband suffered because his parents stayed together until he was an adult. Then he saw his mom marry someone who didn't have such a rocky relationship with her for whatever reason. Circumstances had changed with kids growing up and herself aging including serious health problems.

His parents could have continued fighting for another 25 yrs until her death from bad health. Instead, her grandchildren enjoyed going to her house. When he was a toddler, before she divorced, my son and H would return on Sunday afternoon from visiting her, and her grandson talked about his grandmother crying. Now, unlike his Dad, he has no memory of her being anything but content.

This affects more than one generation. My own H has already upset me with sniping when I was visiting our grandchild. I won't even keep her at our house because of him and I claim it is for everyone's convenience. Although I hate to drive at night, I found a well-lit route through a commercial district so I can turn down rides with him and go alone.

Kids don't stay kids and they have a long time to think things over and make rational decisions as adults.

AB
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« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2007, 09:31:23 PM »

I'm trying something a little different, and I'd appreciate everyone's thoughts... .

After 11 years with a pretty high-functioning BPD (but I had never heard the term) she melted down in December and I moved out.  I got a place only a few blocks away so my kids can safely walk to and from.  Though I keep contact with BPD minimized, I have the kids every weekend and lots of other times too - when BPD mom is feeling bad, or busy, etc.  I probably have them about half the time.

I chose not to file for divorce yet, but she filed as another way of attacking me (cause she knew I didn't want to go that way yet).  When the divorce was nearly final, she asked if I would go to a counselor to see if we could "save the marriage".  I said sure, thinking maybe the counselor would nudge her toward getting diagnosed and treated.  After one session the counselor suggested I read "Eggshells" which I did (and of course bells went off).  Now I don't know if BPD will get help - she seems to be moving in that direction - but in any case I have an OK short-term situation:  kids here pretty often and I have very little contact with BPD so I don't have to deal with her craziness (much).

If she gets help I think it's possible (but a long-shot) that the marriage could be made healthy, over time.  If she doesn't get help I'll decide at some point to finalize the divorce.  The main problem short-term is I'm not really free to pursue another relationship.  I can't be alone forever, but it's not forever.

What do you all think - a reasonable approach or am I missing something?

Thanks.
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« Reply #26 on: August 24, 2007, 09:41:38 PM »

Matt,

Her being high functioning probably puts her as a master at projecting to everybody she is normal and nothing is wrong with her. That being I would advise you to start documenting everything that happens, document it in a journal with dates and names of others who you can reference later.

The short term approach sounds good but if you hit that point down the road and go for divorce what arrangements will be acceptable then? Do you want to live that close and develop a new relationship?

LA

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Letting go when it is too painful to hang on is hard to rationalize.

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« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2007, 09:58:31 PM »

(JoannaK:  Sorry for hijacking the topic but I think it's kinda relevant... .)

LA:  Thanks for the reply.  She certainly is a master at projecting normalcy;  she makes friends well and as far as I know never gets crazy on them.  She says "Everybody else likes me and doesn't see anything wrong with me" which I think is true because she doesn't treat them like dirt like she does me.

Up til now she has never been abusive with the kids either (except my stepson many years ago before I was in the picture).  I am such a big part of the kids lives they tell me everything, and they tell each other even more, so I am pretty confident I will know if BPD starts dumping on them now that I'm not available to her.  It's been several months separated and it hasn't happened yet;  I really think she loves the kids and does her best not to hurt them (though when we were together she sometimes attacked me by saying stuff like "Kids, your dad doesn't care about anybody but himself so how would you all feel if we got a divorce?".  Sick behavior, but it seems not to be happening anymore.

We have already agreed that we will both stay in the school district, so the kids won't have to change schools (it's an excellent school).  So that means we won't be too far apart.  I still see more of BPD than I would like to but it's just annoying not a real problem, and has real benefits for the kids.  But I could imagine moving a little further (like a mile or two) and making the kid schedule a little more rigid.

Not at all sure what might happen if/when I meet someone else.  BPD has frequently accused me (often in front of the kids) of infidelity (with specific women including co-workers and even relatives!) though I have never been unfaithful in any way.  She has acknowledged that her accusations were wrong - they were obviously just nasty attacks.  Not sure if seeing someone else would trigger her craziness or if she would take it out on the kids.

Why do you suggest the documentation?  You mean document crazy behavior to use for custody?  We have agreed on joint custody, and I doubt I could get sole custody since her crazy behavior has only been seen by me and the kids.  Two of the kids are too young (9 and 10) to testify, a third has so many problems (addictions) he would not be a reliable witness (though he would tell the truth) and the fourth is very close to BPD, though she could be counted on to tell the truth too.  So I'm not thinking of going for sole custody unless BPD's behavior degrades.

Thoughts anyone?

Thanks.
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« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2007, 10:34:58 AM »

Excerpt
She says "Everybody else likes me and doesn't see anything wrong with me" which I think is true because she doesn't treat them like dirt like she does me.

My uBPex saved the harsh stuff for a select few

Excerpt
We have already agreed that we will both stay in the school district,

In my situation, and quite a few in which I am familiar, many agreements were made on both sides.  Typically the Non keeps the agreements and the BP breaks each one.  If you have court documentation of such (temp orders, divorce decree), then you have teeth in case she does break her agreement.

Excerpt
Up til now she has never been abusive with the kids either

... .

BPD has frequently accused me (often in front of the kids)

Dr. Phil disagrees.  It doesn't matter which accusation she's accusing you of, it doesn't matter whether the accusation is false or not, but the fact that she's dragging the garbage out in front of the kids is bad, bad, bad.

Quote from: Dr. Phil
Take it private and keep it private.  Fighting in front of your children is nothing short of child abuse. It can and will scar them emotionally

(reference)

Excerpt
Why do you suggest the documentation?

#1 - Custody

Doesn't matter if you're pre-agreement or post-agreement.  Documentation becomes a way of life.  Nothing fancy, but your journal is a key part for the custody thing.  Undocumented "crazy behavior" isn't crazy behavior to the court.  Document things such as

* wild communications from her

* your part in the communications

* which children spent time with you

* how long you were with them

* what you did in general

#2 - Self-Grounding

Keeping a journal will show you patterns, plus assists when she's tossing the false accusations (no, not to prove it to her... .to yourself).  People are mortal, and particularly with high-functioning BPs, they can turn on the high-beam charms and the Non will brush aside quite a bit.  A journal just keeps it real for you so that you can determine more objectively whether there's an up trend or down trend.
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« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2007, 03:36:43 PM »

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?  Yes. I think that once the decision is made its final2.  There have been studies that show that kids who grow up in divorced homes have more problems in life than kids whose parents stay together.  Would having a BPD/NPD parent (or other abusive parent) change this outlook?

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?  I stayed for the kids, still with him but it was the wrong decision.  I should have left when they were young before he became abusive with them.6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?

4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have? ME!  My kids deserved to have a normal life without the BPD abuse!

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?  Leave while the kids are young.  My kids (now adults) have after-effects from bNPDh.  I can't say enough that I wish I left when the kids were young.

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

Puddin

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